HomeEquality & JusticeFaith-based, rights groups hail court order for state forces to surface missing...

Faith-based, rights groups hail court order for state forces to surface missing activists

“The order is a step forward in finding the missing activists,” said Aglipayan priest Dionito Cabillas, lead convenor of the group Isaiah Ministry

Faith-based and rights groups in the Philippines welcomed the decision of the Court of Appeals granting a petition in favor of two missing labor organizers.

“The order is a step forward in finding the missing activists,” said Aglipayan priest Dionito Cabillas, lead convenor of the group Isaiah Ministry.

“While we demand to those responsible to resurface them, it gives us hope that the court is with the side of the aggrieved,” said the priest.



The Court of Appeals last week issued a “privilege of the writ of Amparo” for labor organizers Elizabeth “Loi” Magbanua and Alipio “Ador” Juat who have been missing since May 3.

The “writ of Amparo” is a protective remedy aimed at providing judicial relief consisting of appropriate remedial measures and directives to address specific violations or threats of violation of the constitutional rights to life, liberty, or security of individuals.

The court also granted the families’ prayers for a permanent protection order.

The court found the military “accountable for the enforced disappearance” of the activists and ordered authorities to conduct “a comprehensive and exhaustive investigation.”

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“Without any specific pronouncement on exact authorship and responsibility, declaring the respondents accountable for the enforced disappearance and continued disappearance of [Magbanua and Juat],” read the appellate court ruling.

Father Cabillas said the court’s finding that the military was responsible for the abduction of the labor organizers “is alarming.” He urged Congress to “immediately investigate” the matter.

“Lawmakers must look into this case and must enact laws that will provide an additional blanket of protection for human rights defenders and political activists,” said the priest.

Women’s rights group Gabriela thanked the court for “upholding human rights defenders’ right to life, liberty, and security.”

“This is certainly a welcome decision amid a long-standing culture of violence and impunity in the country,” said Clarice Palce, secretary general of the women’s group.

The petitioners, including the family of the missing activists, claimed Juat was able to alert his family that he and Magbanua had been abducted and that they were brought to Camp Aguinaldo.

Palce said that with the court’s ruling “the burden is now upon the (military) to provide a comprehensive explanation on the truth behind Loi and Ador’s disappearance.”

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